Thursday, September 1, 2016

Reloading surplus brass.

If you are a long time hand loader you likely know this. If you are a newbie, listen up.

There comes a time in every shooter’s life when someone offers him a pile of once-fired surplus brass. Generally this is in either .223 or .308 but is not always so.

Military brass is generally pretty good stuff and Lake City USGI brass is good stuff. Much military (but not all) is Boxer primed and easily reloadable.

I’m not going to get into powder and bullet selection here. I’m simply going to tell the readers how to prepare surplus brass and turn it into ready to go primed brass.

These first two steps are interchangeable. You can either polish the brass first or decap it first. I prefer to decap it first.

‘What? What? But my resizing die deprimes as it resizes!” you say.

It does decap and resize in one simple convenient operation and will decap surplus brass for a while until the pin breaks or the expander rod bends. That’s because military brass has the primers crimped in.

Lee makes a pretty good simple decapper for very short money. It consists of a punch and an anvil of sorts. The anvil seats the brass case. The anvil has a hole in the base for the spent primer to drop through when the punch is struck.

Put the case on the anvil, and drop the punch down into the case. Make sure the punch pin goes into the touchhole and give the punch a good whack with a rubber hammer. The rubber hammer keeps the punch from being deformed. After every two or three cases lift the anvil and let the spent primers fall out. It keeps the hole from filling up and jamming the process up.
The next step is to remove the crimping.

There is a tool that does this. Mine is an old one I have had for years made by Lyman. There are others but I have used a utility knife before for this. Some of these tools can be chucked into a drill motor and it makes the job go very quickly.

You now have serviceable unprimed brass that can be reloaded without further ado. Just toss it into your brass cleaner and follow the standard operating procedures for reloading.

Most military brass is a little heavier than its civilian counterpart. Decrease the charge a grain or two and work back up.

Pro tip: While cleaning and polishing sometimes media gets stuck in primer pockets and touchholes. Keep the decapping punch out to use to clear the media out of the primer pockets and touchholes.

Good shooting.

To find out why the blog is pink just cut and paste this: NO ANIMALS WERE HARMED IN THE WRITING OF TODAY'S ESSAY

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